Sometimes you don’t recognize symbolism in your own work until later. See what I discovered in Warrior Lord.
Blog Tour & Giveaway with Author Nancy J. Cohen to celebrate the release of Warrior Lord, #3 in the Drift Lords Series.
August 1 Author Interview
The Big Thrill
August 2 Guest Blog “Top 10 Advantages of Wedding an Alien”
Magic and Mayhem
August 3, Sunday, Spotlight
August 4-11, Bewitching Blog Tour
Follow along and Enter to win a Warrior Lord T-shirt and a signed print copy of Warrior Prince, #1 in the Drift Lords series. http://www.bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.com/2014/08/now-on-tour-warrior-lord-by-nancy-j.html
August 4 Author Interview
Paranormal Romance Fans for Life
August 4 Guest Blog “Magic or Science?”
August 5 Spotlight
August 5 Spotlight
August 6 Guest Blog “Symbolism in Fantasy Romance”
August 6 Spotlight
Angel’s Guilty Pleasures
August 7 Author Interview
August 7 Spotlight
Deal Sharing Aunt
August 8 Author Interview
August 8 Spotlight
Books N Pearls
August 11 Guest Blog “Marriage of Convenience with a Fantasy Twist”
Book-a-holic Fairies, inc
August 11 Spotlight
Do Your Due Diligence
My husband and I have been investigating local contractors prior to doing an update on our three bathrooms. Here are the results of our search. Stay with me, and I’ll relate this process to your writing career.
Contractor #1 has a modest showroom that offers a variety of product choices and designs. Their rep came to our house, took measurements, and made knowledgeable suggestions. He pointed out the electrical outlets that he said needed to be updated to code, and that would cost $150 for an electrician. He gave us a written estimate, and the pricing seemed reasonable.
We got the name of this company through ads in the unsolicited home circulars we receive. I looked the company up online. Bad reviews. Then I called an electrician as one of those outlets he’d mentioned failed. The electrician found the fault in the overhead light wiring, fixed it, put in a new dimmer switch at my request and charged only $85. He said the other outlet was fine and neither needed to be changed to be brought up to code. Uh-oh. If Contractor #1 wasn’t telling the truth about one item, what else might he suggest that would inflate the price? My husband was turned off by the negative reviews.
Here is what we have:
Contractor #2 has a ritzy showroom with high-end sinks, cabinets, toilets and accessories. A receptionist greeted us upon our entry and asked if we’d like coffee or a soda. Then a salesman came to guide us around and ask about our needs. Right up front, without viewing our measurements, he quoted a remodeled shower at $10-15,000. This wasn’t for anything else we needed and seemed extraordinarily high, nearly double what the first guy had quoted. We weren’t changing the configuration, just redoing the walls and fixtures. Glancing at our casual clothes, he didn’t bother to have us fill out a customer form but gave us his card.
How did we learn about this company? It was recommended by a friend, who knew another friend who’d used them and was happy. They lived in a waterfront condo on the Intracoastal and no doubt had funds to spare. Clearly this company, with its high overhead, catered to wealthy customers. My husband didn’t care for their arrogant attitude.
Here is what I want:
Contractor #3 has a showroom in a quiet back street downtown but not in a great area. The office is tiny with a few choice cabinetry samples as well as a narrow choice of hardware and sinks. You have to order your own tile but they would install it. We were referred to the owner by a friend who’d used her services and was pleased with the results. The lady in charge wouldn’t give us a quote until we gave her our measurements and picked samples of styles we might like. Her base quote was within range of what we’d like to spend. When I looked them up online, I found a basic website but not much else.
Contractor #4 we discovered by viewing their name on a truck in the neighborhood and seeing their workmen in action. I found their website and got the address. Where was it? It turned out to be a mail box in the local UPS store. No physical presence. As I walk around the block, I see their logo trucks in front of the neighbor’s home. They’re obviously working there. But no physical office or showroom? That’s always a warning sign for me.
So what’s our choice? We’ve asked Contractor #3 to come out with her installer and see our layout before giving us a more accurate quote, and that won’t include the cost of the tile. But so far, she’s the best of the bunch.
Which one, if any, would you choose?
So how does this lengthy dissertation relate to writing? You need to be just as careful when researching agents and editors. Do they work for a reputable firm? What can you find out about them online? Can your fellow authors provide recommendations? Who’s worked with this person or publishing house, and were they happy? Check over at Editors and Predators for warnings about unscrupulous persons to avoid. Google them online and see what pops up. Look for them on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook and other sites. In other words, do your due diligence. Don’t accept someone who looks good, like that company with the ritzy showroom. They might be perfect for certain clients but not for you. Check the approved publisher list of a professional writing organization in your genre. And determine your criteria before starting your search. If you get any negative vibes, listen to them. Here are some additional resources:
Tomorrow I’m at the Kill Zone speaking about “Avoiding Info Dumps.” Be sure to visit!
April 18, Friday, Facebook Launch Party 10:00 am – 8:00 pm with Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint. Giveaways all day! Join now: https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty
Amazon Hardcover: http://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Hair-Nancy-J-Cohen/dp/1432828142
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Hanging-Hair-Bad-Day-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B00JJ2XVUQ/
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hanging-by-a-hair-nancy-j-cohen/1116603785
Marla’s joyous move to a new house with her husband, Detective Dalton Vail, is marred by their next-door neighbor who erects an illegal fence between their properties. When Dalton reminds the man of the local permitting laws, tempers flare—and worse, the neighbor is found dead the following day. Dismayed when Dalton is removed from the case due to a conflict of interest, Marla decides it’s up to her to find the killer. Can the intrepid hairstylist untangle the clues and pin down the culprit before he strikes again?
“Marla is short for marvelous. If you like your mysteries ‘cozy,’ you’re going to enjoy every minute you spend with her!”—Award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan
Top Pick 5 Stars! “The author is always keeping you guessing as to where the story will lead you next. Ms. Cohen has just joined the list of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading the other books she has written. I hope you find Hanging by a Hair as great as I did.”—MerryNoelle, Night Owl Reviews
“A pleasingly lighthearted cozy.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Clues abound, as do quirky characters, wonderfully described South Florida settings, intriguing insights into the beauty salon business and into the wild world of Florida home-owning communities, and flavorful recipes. All in all, Hanging by a Hair is entertaining, enjoyable, and informative. I look forward to Number 12 in this delightful series.”— Stephanie Saxon Levine, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
Pinterest Board: http://www.pinterest.com/njcohen/hanging-by-a-hair/
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/gv5ldn9uw7I
April 21 – 27, The Big Thrill Roundtable, “Do you enjoy reading books out of seasons?”
April 21, Monday, “Story Magic,” Mayhem and Magic, http://mayhemandmagic2.blogspot.com/
April 22, Tuesday, “Creating Hooks in Cozy Mysteries,” Musings From the Slush Pile, http://blog.juliealindsey.com/
Join the fun now: https://www.facebook.com/NewReleaseParty
Florida’s Change of Seasons by Nancy J. Cohen
How can you tell it’s Spring in Florida? Bougainvillea burst forth in vibrant colors. Coconuts ripen on the trees. The last cold fronts of the year sweep down from the north. Then suddenly, the humidity rises and winter is over.
Yes, we have changing seasons in Florida. You have to live here to notice the subtle changes.
Trees do shed their leaves, but only certain varieties and at different times of the year. Vegetables grow in winter, not summer. Ducks and birds visit in the winter, escaping the arctic temperatures up north.
The most distinctive changes are the wet and dry seasons. From November to May, we experience low humidity and temperate climate. Sometimes it can drop into the 40’s in South Florida, but that’s as cold as it gets. Winds bring cold fronts and chilly air down from the north.
Sunny skies, temperatures in the seventies, and cool mornings bring tourists to our coasts. Orange trees produce fruit during the winter while farmers grow tomatoes, squash, eggplants, and more. Alligators sun themselves so if you’re a gator watcher, you have a better chance in the winter to spy the creatures than the summer when water levels rise.
But everything changes in May. The humidity returns along with the heat. And then the winds change again, bringing stormy skies from the Caribbean and the Gulf northward into Florida. June to November is our hurricane season, and afternoon thunderstorms are frequent. You learn to bring an umbrella because you never know when a quick tempest will sweep by. This is the season when our lychee tree bears fruit and our banana plants thrive on the extra rainwater. Flooding is a hazard as the canal systems get overwhelmed and the groundwater table rises.
Regardless of which way the wind blows, you can play outside nearly any day in Florida or luxuriate in air-conditioned comfort. You can see flowers bloom year round and watch palm fronds sway in a balmy breeze. If we give up snow and ice or daffodils and dogwoods for this privilege, it’s worth the sacrifice. Florida has its own change of seasons that must be appreciated accordingly.
Nancy is the author of 20 romance and mystery novels. She writes the humorous Bad Hair Day mystery series and the paranormal Drift Lords series and is a HOLT Medallion winner. Many of her stories are centered in Florida. https://nancyjcohen.com
Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for an ebook copy of Keeper of the Rings.
What do you like best about Florida?
The original inspiration for this recipe came from a cooking class I’d attended in New Orleans. Over the years, I’ve modified the recipe, preferring easy ingredients and preparation. So here is the Lazy Cook’s Jambalaya.
The Lazy Cook’s Jambalaya
2 Tbsp. oil
9 oz. package Perdue Short Cuts Original Roasted Chicken Breast
2-11 oz. packages Hebrew National reduced-fat beef franks
2-8 oz. containers fresh diced onions
2-8 oz. containers Trinity Mix (chopped fresh green pepper, celery, onions)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 bunch green onions, chopped
8 oz. diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Cut up the chicken and hot dogs into bite-sized pieces. Set aside in different bowls. Assemble the other ingredients.
In a soup pot, sauté the franks in oil for flavor and then remove to bowl.
Return franks to pot along with chicken, tomatoes and green onions. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until most liquid is absorbed.
Add a fancy garnish if you wish. Serve with a side salad.
Lunch with Laura Lippman at SleuthFest
We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.
Bestselling Author Laura Lippman discussed what it means to be a professional writer. Publishing has changed in terms of e-books, self-published writers and hybrid authors. “The conversation has become so charged and so vitriolic. I’ve yet to see any reliable numbers on either side.” The argument for traditional publishing is couched in money and control.
No one argues that self-publishing will lead to better books. This avenue can produce as good a book as traditional publishing. But where is the true masterpiece in self-publishing? “Show me a masterpiece that could only have come” from a self-published work.
Find someone you can trust to tell your dreams about publishing. What are you prepared to do to get there? Professionalism is taking your work seriously, and being respectful of other people’s time and expertise.
Laura calls indie publishing “a less precise euphemism” for self-publishing. The key is in doing the work and reaching a reasoned decision to self-publish but not for instant gratification. Is the work ready? Be a ruthless critic of your own work. The goal has to be to write the best book you can. Your words are your legacy. Make them precise. Make them good.
I’ll be appearing at the Lake County (Florida) BookFest this week if you’re in central Florida. There’s a whole bunch of events planned so I hope some of you can join the fun! I’ve done this event in the past and it has been a blast, as shown from these photos below.
March 13, Thursday, 7:00 pm, “Murder on Bay Street”, Historic State Theatre, 109 N. Bay Street, Eustis, FL 32726, with Robin Burcell, Nancy J. Cohen, Deborah Sharp, and Elaine Viets.
March 14, Friday, 10:00 am, “How to Get Published” with Nancy J. Cohen at Fruitland Park Library, 205 W. Berckman Street, Fruitland Park, FL 34731, 352-360-6561
March 14, Friday, 2:30 pm, “Killer Releases” with Robin Burcell, Nancy J. Cohen, Deborah Sharp, Elaine Viets, W. T. Bland Public Library, 1995 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757, 352-735-7180
March 14, Friday, 6:00 pm, Authors’ Reception, Leesburg Public Library, 100 E. Main Street ,Leesburg, FL, 34748, 352-728-9790
March 15, Saturday, 11:00 am, “Plotting Made Perfect” with Nancy J. Cohen, W. T. Bland Public Library, 1995 N. Donnelly Street, Mount Dora, FL 32757, 352-735-7180
Please join us!
Enter to win 1 of 4 signed ARCs of Hanging By A Hair in my Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/81598
Win a $25 gift card or 1 of 6 books, including an ARC for Hanging By A Hair, at Booklover’s Bench: http://bookloversbench.com/
Characters can torment you, the writer, for a variety of reasons. Secondary characters may want to have their stories told. Main characters might whisper in your ear to tell their tale. And when you’re in the midst of spinning your web of deceit, the characters live within your head, unwilling to let you go.
Silver Serenade is an example of main characters who wanted their story to be heard. Rookie assassin Silver Malloy and desperate fugitive Jace Vernon are both after the same man, terrorist leader Tyrone Bluth. Silver’s assignment is to kill the man while Jace needs Bluth alive to prove his innocence. For Jace—a diplomat turned desperado and a crack pilot—bigger political issues are at stake that could lead to galactic war. For Silver, the issue is personal. Tyrone’s Marauders destroyed her family and her research. Revenge fills her heart, and she’s vowed nothing will stop her from her goal. Forced to team up in their pursuit, Silver and Jace realize that when they catch Bluth, one of them must yield.
These characters whispered in my ear to tell their tale until I couldn’t ignore them any longer. They’d been the subject of my option book after I wrote four scifi romances for Dorchester. As the market for futuristics took a dive, Dorchester turned down this fifth title. Years passed, and the cycle came around. Paranormals and its various subgenres made a resurgence. I finished Silver Serenade and sold it to The Wild Rose Press. Finally, their story was done.
Now I’m in the throes of torment again. I am fifty pages away from finishing Peril by Ponytail, my twelfth Bad Hair Day mystery. When I go to bed at night and when I wake up in the morning, the characters are swirling in my head. What’s going to happen in the next scene? Am I considering all the angles? Could I be forgetting to follow through on one of the suspects? Did I remember to have a funeral service for the first victim? What about his wife, who stands to gain a substantial inheritance from his death? Did we examine this motive in the course of the story? How will Marla and Dalton find their way through the maze of underground tunnels in the mine scene?
And always, there’s the underlying anxiety—Will I have enough to reach my word count?
I am driven to finish this story. The characters won’t let me have any peace until we’re done.
Does this happen to you?
Join historical romance author Adriana Girolami, along with romance and mystery author Nancy J. Cohen, online for some fun and holiday cheer as they discuss their latest books on live Internet TV.
We’ll open the chat lines for Q&A’s, and a chance for readers to win free books and some $25 Amazon Gift Cards!
DATE: Friday, DECEMBER 20th, 2013
TIME: 7:30PM Eastern / 4:30PM Pacific
How to join:
– click link below
– use the guest tab (not registered users tab)
– enter your name in the guest field
– click enter button to join
*BCTV Direct Room Link
(i.e., this will take you directly to the BCTV login page)